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Webmaster Tools 101

There are many different factors that determine which websites appear in Google’s search results. The first step, however, is making sure Google knows your site exists and is able to correctly interpret the information on your web pages.

To help with those first steps, meet Webmaster Tools, a free tool to help you understand more about your website’s position on search results pages. The information you can learn in Webmaster Tools can help you develop a strategy  to improve your chances of appearing, appearing higher, and appearing more often in searches.

Read on to learn more from our 3-part series on Webmaster Tools.

♦ Lesson Highlight: Use free Webmaster Tools for a search-friendly site

Webmaster Tools can help you understand how Google “sees” your website. Once the tool is connected to your site, you can access free reports, and learn answers to important questions like: 

  • Which searches caused your site to appear in Google’s results?
  • Did some searches result in more traffic to your site than others?
  • Is important business information, like your address or phone number, highlighted in Google’s results?
  • Which websites link to your site?
  • How is my mobile site performing?

♦ Lesson Highlight: See the top searches that bring users to your site

Are you curious which words visitors type in the search bar to find your website? There’s a report for that in Webmaster Tools, called “Search Queries.” This report shows you:

  • Searches from the past 30-90 days that resulted in your site appearing in Google search results.
  • How many times people saw your site on a Google search results page.
  • The average position of your site on that page.
  • How often people clicked the link to your site.

You can use this report in a variety of ways, including monitoring keywords. If you don’t see keywords you’d expect, you could try adding more relevant text to your website.

♦ Lesson Highlight: See which websites link to your site

Another helpful report is “Links to your site.” This report is important because each link to your website represents an online connection to your business. In general, the more connected you are, the more visible your business is to people using the web. Links are one of the many signals Google uses to decide which websites appear in the search results. This report helps you learn information like:

  • Who links to your website the most.
  • How your data is linked.
  • Your most linked content.

It’s important to point out that quality trumps quantity: having a lot of links to your site shouldn’t be your goal. It’s more important to have quality links, from related sites, that bring you relevant visitors. For example, if you sell bicycles in New York City, you might benefit from links from local sports club websites and regional bike-related blogs.

“Friday 15: Small Business Tips” is a series designed to help small businesses like yours make the most of their online presence. If you missed the May post about giving your website text and images a spring cleaning, check it out here:

You can read the full lessons and view more tips for growing your business online at Don’t forget to sign up to receive new lessons directly in your inbox, and make it a habit to grow your business online with Friday 15.

On behalf of the entire Get Your Business Online team, I wish you great success growing your business.


About the Author: Whitney Lemon hosts “Friday 15: Small Business Tips,” Google’s series to help small businesses succeed online in 15 minutes or less.  “Friday 15” is part of Google’s Get Your Business Online program, providing small businesses with a custom domain name and web hosting- free for one year.


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